Message from WCMS President, Samantha Read-Smith

March 9, 2016

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Dear Colleagues,
 
Behind the scenes at WCMS, we've been busy rolling out our 2016 strategic plan (the strategy is based on interview data from our membership and community partners). It's going to be a meaningful year with a jam-packed agenda. WCMS is tackling head-on one of the most pressing issues facing physicians: burnout.
 
Addressing physician burnout is at the top of the agenda for WCMS this year because national data and direct feedback from our membership demonstrate a critical need. According to the Mayo Clinic, "burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance in US physicians worsened from 2011 to 2014. More than half of US physicians are now experiencing professional burnout."
 
The fallout from burnout can be heart-breaking. We have worked with a Medical Society in Oregon where the impetus to start their physician wellness program was the loss of 2 physicians to suicide in one year. Symptoms of burnout can also be more subtle, eroding our medical system with physicians working less, feeling depressed, decreasing their participation in activities outside of work, and making life less joyful for their patients, their colleagues, and even their families.
 
There are many factors behind this epidemic, but we know at least part of the solution can be found in workshops, and ultimately, full wellness programs designed to support physicians. WCMS kicked-off this effort in 2015 with our first Burnout Prevention Retreat featuring renowned speaker, Dr. Dike Drummond. Dike offered tools to recognize burnout, improve work-life balance, and feel empowered within large institutions. There was a session for the significant others of physicians to discuss how burnout is affecting their family and search for similar experiences and solutions.
By popular demand, we are pleased to be welcoming Dr. Drummond back for another workshop in April. It's filling up fast!
 
We're proud to share the news that we're moving burnout prevention into new territory this year. Under the leadership of last years president, Dr. Bob Henderson, we are pioneering a grassroots, physician-led physician wellness program to offer local support and referrals for physicians recognizing that they need help. Stay tuned!
 
It's not too late to register for the workshop with Dr. Dike Drummond on April 16th at the Montreat Conference Center. We hope you'll take a day for yourself and your loved ones to nurture your own health. We received wonderful feedback from spouses and physicians last year. We're calling this one Heart of the Healer. Click here to register.
 
Happy spring!
 
Samantha Read-Smith
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